Tacoma Freedom Fair Airshow

Tacoma Freedom Fair Airshow

Airshow Co-Sponsored by Click! Network and Northwest Ford

Our Sponsors

If you are looking for spectacular air show entertainment, great food, live music, classic cars, and let's face it, the biggest and best all-day family event of the year… Tacoma's annual Fourth of July Freedom Fair on Ruston Way promises to deliver again. Between 1:30 and 3:30 PM the Tacoma Freedom Fair Airshow will take to the skies over Commencement Bay with some of the best aviation acts in the country.

Support your Tacoma Freedom Fair and Air Show so the tradition can continue. Please donate at the entry gate. Suggested admission donations:

$2 Fan - $5 Friend - $10 LEADER - $15 PATRIOT

Souvenir pins and stickers are available on a first come first served basis for those who contribute the suggested amount or more. Pins and stickers are good for discounts with participating Freedom Fair vendors – look for the signs that display the Freedom Fair logo.

For a prime location to view the air show go to Marine Park between the Lobster Shop and Katie Downs. Spectators will have a superior view of the show and soft grass to sit on. Come early and get a good spot! KLAY 1180 AM will broadcast the air show live, so bring your radio and tune into an aerial display that epitomizes a combination of power, skill, and courage.

Don't miss the Wings & Wheels event happening on Sunday, July 6, 2014 at the Tacoma Narrows Airport. It's an aviation event with a car and motorcycle show. Read more about Wings & Wheels.

Below: Air Show participants for 2014 - click photos to view larger

Ace Maker T-33 Shooting Star

A native Californian, Gregory "Wired" Colyer took his first flight at age 7 in a Cessna 172 with Dr. Lee Schaller out of the Schellville airport in Sonoma, California. Hooked ever since, Greg has been flying for almost 3 decades after earning his license in 1982 while serving in the US Army from 1982-1987.

Since leaving the service he has been employed by the FAA as an Air Traffic Controller at Oakland ARTCC. His passion for the cockpit never left him as he continued to fly as a hobby and an occasional airshow flying a Beech T-34 Mentor until he imported a Russian L-29 Delfin Jet in 2003

He holds a Commercial Pilot certificate with instrument, single and multi-engine ratings as well as being a Certified Flight Instructor. Type rated in Aero Vodochody's L-29 Delfin, L-39 Albatros and the Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star. A level I Aerobatic low level card and FAST lead formation card round out his qualifications. The T-33 was developed from the Lockheed P-80/F-80 by lengthening the fuselage by slightly over three feet and adding a second seat, instrumentation and flight controls.

The P-80 became the first jet fighter to enter full squadron service in the United States Army Air Forces and as more advanced jets entered service, the F-80 took on another role—training jet pilots. The two-place T-33 jet was designed for training pilots already qualified to fly propeller-driven aircraft. A total of 6,557 Shooting Stars were produced, 5,691 by Lockheed, 210 by Kawasaki and 656 by Canadair.

Read more on the Ace Maker T-33 web site.

Acemaker T-33

Jacquie B

Jacquie B Jacquie traces her love of flying her to her earliest days, when, as a newborn, her first outing was to the Los Angeles County Airport Air Show. Her father’s interest in airplanes and flying inspired Jacquie to want to ride the wind. Jacquie spent many years dreaming of flying but was unable to do much about it until years later after working and saving her money. By the time she was 32 years old, she decided she had waited long enough. She enrolled in ground school and the rest is history, as they say. She earned her Private Pilot certificate in 1986 and shortly thereafter was introduced to the world of aerobatics. A friend offered her a ride in a Pitts Special and she jumped at the chance to do a different kind of flying. With that first flight of loops, rolls, spins and a few other very scary maneuvers, she was instantly hooked on aerobatics.

“I was so bored with the time between take-offs and landings, I just knew there had to be something to do in between”.

Once she discovered aerobatics, there was no question in her mind she was destined to learn a new kind of flying. It took a few years longer to save enough money to take aerobatic lessons, but save she did and finally took her first “formal” aerobatic lesson in July 1997. She entered the International Aerobatic Club sanctioned competition in August 2000 and rapidly progressed to the advanced category.

Aerobatics is Jacquie’s passion, but her love of flying does not stop there. Jacquie competed in the 2001 Reno Air Races in the biplane class, finishing with an impressive sixth place in the Bronze class. The following year, she advanced to the Silver class and again finished sixth. Jacquie continued to race at Reno in 2003 and 2004, finishing in the middle of the Silver class. Her Reno results yielded features in several publications.

Jacquie has flown a variety of aircraft, including Cessnas, Stearmans, AT-6, T-28, Beechcraft Duke, Dutchess, King Air, Baron & Bonanza, Aeronca Champ, Citabria, Decathlon, Lancair, Sukhoi, Aircoupe, Baby Ace, Beaver on floats, C-172 on floats, Supercub on floats, Yak 52, Nanching CJ-6, Piper Arrow, Yak 52 and Extra 300. She holds a Commercial certificate in land-based aircraft as well as a seaplane rating and holds an unrestricted, Level 1 ACE card.

But no aircraft compares to her beautiful red Extra 300 with iridescent stars all over as if she just flew through the Milky Way! Her new Extra has 300+ horsepower, a composite MT propeller and two seats so she is now able to share her love of flying with others by giving rides.

Pitts S2-B
Pitts S2-B
Pitts S2-B

Vicky Benzing Aerosports

Born and raised in California, Vicky Benzing is an accomplished pilot, skydiver, aerobatic competitor, and Reno racer. With over 6000 hours of flight time and over 1100 parachute jumps, Vicky has a passion for everything airborne.

Inspired by that flight at a very young age, Vicky was lucky enough to learn to fly while in college earning her pilot’s license in a family friend’s antique Taylorcraft in her hometown of Watsonville, California. Since then, her flying career has spanned over thirty years and today she holds an Airline Transport Pilot rating as well as a commercial rating in helicopters and seaplanes.

In addition to her aerobatic pursuits Vicky earned a PhD in Chemistry from UC Berkeley and has had a successful career in the Silicon Valley high tech industry. Vicky feels that she has been fortunate to be able to fly and to do many of the things that she has been able to do in her life. She wants the young people in the audience to know that they can achieve any goal that they set for themselves through hard work and patience. “Go to school and study hard and you can do anything you set your mind to,” she says.

Read more on Vicky Benzing's website.

Stearman PT-17

Steve Bakke

Steve Bakke - Steve Bakke is the pilot of F4U Corsair N4901W. Steve has loved airplanes and flying since he was just 4 years old and has more than 41 years as a career corporate pilot, is a Certified Flight Instructor for more than 45 years and has flown this Beautifully restored and maintained Corsair for owner Raymon Thompson of Kalispell Montana for 18 years.

The gull-winged F4U-4 Corsair was one of the finest fighter-bomber aircraft produced during WW II. It stood at the summit of piston-engine fighter technology and development, and it was a formidable weapon from the closing months of WW II through the Korean Conflict (1951-53).

In 1938 the U.S. Navy called for designs for a new single-seat, carrier-based fighter. The Chance-Vought Corporation won the contract with a unique gull-wing design powered by the largest aircraft engine then available—the 2,000-horsepower Pratt & Whitney R-2800-8 Double Wasp radial piston engine. The gull-wing design was necessary to provide adequate ground clearance for the airplane’s huge three-bladed propeller. The gull- wing also proved to be a low-drag design and, because it put the folding wings’ hinge points closer to the deck, the design gave the Corsair a lower profile in an aircraft carrier’s cramped hangar deck.

Many people know the Corsair as the airplane flown by Major Greg “Pappy” Boyington and his “Black Sheep Squadron” (VMF-214). Pappy’s Black Sheep shot down 94 enemy aircraft. The squadron included nine aces in its ranks. Corsairs were flown by the US Navy and Marines, the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm, the Royal New Zealand Air Force, and the French Aeronavale.

The Corsair had strong virtues that made it a dangerous opponent. Its speed (especially at high altitudes), roll rate, climb rate, and maneuverability were comparable to the best fighters of the day—the P-51 Mustang, P-38 Lightning, and Japanese Zero. It handled well at slow speeds and in stalls. While it could not out-turn a Japanese Zero, its superior speed and rate of climb gave it the advantage when used with the right tactics. The Corsair’s 1,000-mile range was roughly the same as the long-range Republic P-47, but still much shorter than a P-51’s combat radius.

The aircraft’s six .50-caliber machine guns or four 20-mm cannon (F4U-4B & -4C) gave it more-than-adequate firepower, and it could take off with a heavier bomb load than some of the medium twin-engine bombers of the era.

One “vice” plagued the Corsair throughout its production run. At low speeds, the huge R2800 engine produced huge amounts of torque. If an inexperience pilot jammed the throttle to the firewall on takeoff, the torque could easily twist the airplane onto its back and “ruin the pilot’s afternoon.” This tendency earned the Corsair the nickname “Ensign Eliminator.” Experienced pilots said the F4U was no more challenging to fly than any other high-performance fighter then in service.

Read more about the Corsair.

F4U Corsair N4901W piloted by Steve Bakke

Sukhoi SU-29

The Sukhoi SU-29 was built in Moscow Russia in 1995 and is considered to be the very best two place unlimited competition aircraft in the world today. It boasts a 360 HP, 9 cylinder radial engine that starts with compressed air.

Wingspan 27 FT, Length 24 FT - Empty weight 1738 pounds (Less than a fully loaded Cessna 150) - With pilot and fuel for a show flight, 2028 pounds. Roll rate is 360 Degrees per second.

Flown by Renny Price of Tualatin Oregon. A former airline Captain in both Airbus and Boeing aircraft, Renny has amassed 23500 hours total flight time. He is rated as an Airline Transport Pilot, Flight Engineer, Multi-Engine Instrument, Flight Instructor and is currently flying private corporate jets. He is also an FAA check pilot and is married with four children.

His first flight was in the summer of 1969 at Aurora State Airport. Renny and the Sukhoi are based at the Aurora state airport in Aurora Oregon. When Renny is not flying he spends his time fishing, hunting, playing the guitar and of course talking, teaching and learning about flying aerobatics.

Sukhoi SU-29

P-51 "Speedball Alice”

Dan Vance is the owner and operator of this beautiful North American P-51D Mustang "Speedball Alice", which is available for airshows, flybys, film and also for a 10-15 minute warbird aerobatic airshow routine. "Speedball Alice" is also a regular unlimited racer at the Reno National Championship Air Races.

The P-51 was designed and built by North American Aviation after the British government approached them to build P-40 Warhawks under license. North American believed they could design a better fighter, and the British government gave them 120 days to prove it. 102 days after the order was placed, the first Mustang was completed, flying for the first time on October 26, 1940. The prototype and subsequent P-51A utilized the Allison V-1710 liquid cooled engine. Lacking an effective engine supercharger, the Allison provided insufficient power for the high-altitude environment the P-51 was designed to operate in. By replacing the Allison engine with a Rolls-Royce V-1650 Merlin engine that had a two-stage supercharger, the necessary power and performance was gained. The Merlin engine, which was built in the U.S. under license by the Packard Motor Car Company, was installed in all further P-51 models from the “B” through the “H” versions.

Read about the TF-51 Lady Jo here.

P-51 "Speedball Alice”
P-51 "Speedball Alice”Photo credit: Roger Cain P-51 "Speedball Alice”TF-51 Lady Jo

CM-170 Fouga Magister

Designed and built by the Fouga Aircraft Company, the CM 170 Magister first flew on July 23rd, 1952. Named from the Latin phrase describing teachers and professors, the Magister became the World’s first jet trainer. Features included a V-tail configuration, low clearance tricycle landing gear, and long slender wings. Powered by two Turbomeca Marbore engines, the original produced 1058 lb of thrust. All together, 929 were built with Fouga, then Potez, then Aerospatiale, 286 of which were completed under license.

The Fouga is piloted by retired Major General Frank Scoggins. General Scoggins retired in February 2007 following a 37 year career in the USAF and the Air National Guard. Gen Scoggins flew over 4,500 hours in USAF fighter aircraft during his career. He was combat qualified in the F-4 Phantom, F-105 Thunderchief, F-16 Viper, and he has logged pilot in command time in the F-20 and F-5F. Following Air Force pilot training, then Lieutenant Scoggins' was as an aircraft commander and flew in the skies over North Vietnam as a member of the famous Triple Nickel Squadron. Following Vietnam, his active duty assignments were to Okinawa, Taiwan, and at the United States Air Force Fighter Weapons School at Nellis AFB, Nevada. He served in general officer assignments as commander of the Washington Air National Guard, on the USAF staff of Pacific Air Force Command, Hickam AFB, Hawaii, and at the Pentagon. He currently resides in Gig Harbor, Washington and continues to work for the Pentagon in a consulting role.

CM-170 Fouga Magister

Hawker Sea Fury "Argonaut"

The beautiful gray airplane you see flying today is a Hawker Sea Fury MK 11, originally powered buy a 2400 HP Bristol Centaurus engine. One of the fastest piston engine aircraft ever built, Hawker's magnificent Sea Fury has always inspired awe among everyone from airport kids to jet fighter pilots. It continues to attract fans at airshows and air races around the world and leaves most other aircraft of the era well behind.

The first Sea Fury prototype flew on February 21, 1945, but the first full naval version with folding wings did not fly until October 12, 1947. While it did not see action in WWII, the Sea Fury saw significant involvement in the Korean War, mainly in the ground attack role alongside the Fairey Firefly. The aircraft also had the distinction of shooting down a Mig-15, the first by a piston engine fighter, this being achieved by an 802 Squadron aircraft flown by Lt. P. Carmichael on August 9, 1952.

Hawker Sea Fury FB. 11, N19SF "Argonaut", was originally delivered to the Royal Canadian Navy as TG114 in May 1947. Frank Sanders, founder of Sanders Aircraft acquired the sea fury in 1970 and used parts from it for other restoration projects. Sanders Aircraft, now Sanders Aeronautics, Inc. specializes in Smoke Generator Systems and is an industry leader in all aspects of warbird Restoration and Maintenance. Founded by Frank Sanders in 1970 in Long Beach, the company moved to Chino, California in 1976 and then to their current place of business at Eagles Nest in Ione, California in 1996; today brothers Dennis and Brain along with their mother Ruth operate Sanders Aeronautics.

Argonaut was transferred to Sanders Aircraft in 1990 and was rebuilt based on the cockpit section of Sea Fury TG114 (former N232J) which was itself restored from parts of VR918 and VR919. Its Bristol Centaurus engine was replaced with an American Wright R-3350-26WD radial engine, driving a Douglas Skyraider propeller, and first flew after restoration on July 30, 1994. It was named "Argonaut" and assigned race number 114, and still races in the Reno National Championship Air Races today.

In 2011, to improve performance and reliability, the Sanders converted the engine from the Wright R3350 to the 2100 horse power Pratt and Whitney R2800. This is the first Sea Fury to be equipped with an 18 cylinder Pratt & Whitney R2800 engine.

In 1972, Frank Sanders developed a smoke generating system for his personal Hawker Sea Fury to use during Airshow demonstrations. The Smokewinder® smoke generating systems were developed to fill the need for a smoke system that is independent of the engine influence and location. Argonaut has been equipped with smoke generators on both wing tips, allowing it to visually demonstrate the effects of wing tip vortices and its awesome performance while performing warbird aerobatics at select airshows. You will find more information on this aircraft and Sanders Aeronautics on our web site: sandersaeronautics.com.

Flying Argonaut today is Korey Wells who began flying 42 years ago at age 10. He soloed at age 16 in a North American SNJ-5 fighter trainer. Since then he has owned and operated an Air charter and aircraft maintenance shop. He spent 6 years as a member and competitor of the International Aerobatic Councel flying a Pitts Special SlS. Korey now works for Sanders Aeronautics located in northern California as shop foreman and chief inspector where he restores and fly's Warbirds ranging from P-51 Mustangs to a replica Messerschmitt ME262 Jet fighter. Korey also races in the unlimited division of the Reno National Championship Air Races.

Extra 300S

Confirmed air show acts:

  Jacquie B Extra 300
  F4U Corsair flown by Steve Bakke
  Vickey Benzing Stearman Aerobatics
  P-51 "Speedball Alice”
  Hawker Sea Fury "Argonaut"
  Sukhoi SU-29 flown by Renny Price
  Greg Colyer T-33 "Ace Maker"

This is not a schedule. The order of the acts is subject to change.

Air Show Announcers

Airshow Announcers

Roy is the tall man with the big voice at air shows across Canada. His love of air shows and anything flying is obvious when he keys that microphone! He has worked in practically every aspect of aviation, from "flying 'em to paintin' em"!

Roy will share a few of his own personal and often humorous experiences and anecdotes with your crowd. Roy's easy going, informative patter complements any air show performance.

Roy's love of aviation started early. While still in elementary school Roy was an avid reader of aviation books and built countless model airplanes, some of which survive to this day. Roy made his first solo flight when he was just 16 and a year later he earned his private pilot’s licence.

Ken started his announcing career just four short years ago under the expert guidance of veteran airshow announcers, Roy Hafeli and Bob Singleton. Ken grew up around the Abbotsford International Airshow, and as a young boy, thrilled to the incredible displays flown by amazing pilots in their flying machines.

He thought those guys behind the microphones had a pretty cool job too and dreamed of one day being an announcer himself. A theatre producer, director and actor by profession, Ken is the Executive Artistic Director of Gallery 7 Theatre & Performing Arts Society located in Abbotsford, B.C.

Air show will be broadcast live on
KLAY AM 1180